Game of Thrones: The Climb   First Watch 
July 24, 2015 11:31 PM - Season 3, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Tywin plans strategic unions for the Lannisters. Littlefinger plans to leave King's Landing. Robb plans to apologize and attempt to rebuild his alliance with the Freys. Roose makes plans for Jaime. Jon, Ygritte and the Wildlings plan to do the impossible.

Littlefinger [To Varys]: "Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some, are given a chance to climb. They refuse, they cling to the realm or the gods or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.”

Longer Summary (contains spoilers)
In the Riverlands (The Brotherhood): Anguy trains Arya with a bow. Melisandre arrives with a small group of Stannis' men. Melisandre has her men take Gendry into her custody. Arya protests, particularly when she sees that Melisandre has given the Brotherhood two heavy sacks of gold in exchange. She confronts the red priestess, calling her a witch. Melisandre tells her that they will meet again

In King's Landing: Tywin meets with Lady Olenna to push fora marriage between Ser Loras and Cersei. Lady Olenna refuses, raising concerns about Cersei's age and fertility, and whether Jaime's the father of the Queen's children. Tywin replies that if the incest story were true, Joffrey has no right to the throne and the Tyrells just "threw a flower into the dirt". Olenna says she will not risk "throwing another flower into the dirt" if Cersei cannot bear heirs for the Tyrells. Seeing that Olenna's not going to yield, Tywin threatens to make Loras a knight of the Kingsguard, which would force him to give up marriage entirely, and prevent him from inheriting Highgarden. Olenna relents, and consents to the marriage.
Tyrion accuses Cersei of trying to have him killed during the Battle of the Blackwater. Cersei says nothing, and Tyrion suddenly realizes that only two people could have possibly commanded members of the Kingsguard to kill him, and Cersei would never have had him publicly killed. Tyrion concludes that Joffrey ordered Ser Mandon Moore to kill him. "So he wants me dead, fine, but his stupidity! He could have had me poisoned and no one would have known! But the King, orders the Kingsguard, to murder the Hand of the King, in full view of his own army... the boy's an idiot!" Cersei reassures Tyrion that he is in no danger from Joffrey, now that Tywin is Hand.
Tyrion meets with Sansa in her chamber and asks for a private word so he can inform her of their forced betrothal, but Sansa declines to dismiss Shae. Tyrion gives Shae a carefully coded apology for not telling her in private before breaking the news to Sansa.
Later, Varys finds Littlefinger in the throne room. They discuss the Iron Throne and the pageantry and propaganda that creates nations and cements dynasties. Varys asserts that he serves the realm, but Baelish scoffs that "the realm" is an invention of Aegon the Conqueror. Baelish tells Varys that he is aware of Varys' arrangement with Ros, and that he has given her to "a friend" who is eager for a new experience. Baelish revels in the chaos that he has caused, likening chaos to a ladder (for those brave enough to climb) rather than a pit to be lost in, as Varys and everyone else sees it.
Sansa weeps as Baelish's ship departs. Both of her plans to leave King's Landing have come to naught. Meanwhile, Joffrey coldly regards Ros's quarrel-ridden corpse, shot in the same locations as Arya's straw target earlier in the episode.

In The North: Osha and Meera bicker. Jojen has a seizure while sleeping. Meera explains his seizures are caused by his visions. Jojen tells Bran that in his vision he saw Jon Snow with the wildlings.
Poor Theon finally comes face to face with "that fucking hornblower" and the very horn which tormented him at the end of last season: wielded by his mysterious tormentor. Who wakes him, sadistically toys with him and then tortures him by peeling the skin from his pinky finger.

Beyond the Wall: Sam shows Gilly the Dragonglass dagger he found at the Fist of the First Men and tells her about Castle Black.
At camp at the base of the Wall, the wildling party led by Tormund Giantsbane prepare to climb. Jon Snow and Ygritte talk about their impending climb and their relationship. Ygritte reveals she is aware that Jon is still loyal to the Night's Watch, but tells him he must be loyal to each other instead. And if he ever betrays her, she will chop off his cock and wear it on a necklace. While climbing, Ygritte strikes the Wall and causes a massive crack, which dislodges a large sheet of ice which sends several wildlings to their deaths and leaves herself and Jon hanging by their safety rope. Orell decides that Tormund cannot continue climbing with the weight of Jon and Ygritte's bodies pulling them down, and begins cutting the rope. Jon sees this and barely manages to hang onto the wall and saves himself and Ygritte. They reach the top of the wall, and Ygritte is awed by the view of both beyond the wall and south of the wall, before she and Jon share a passionate kiss.

In the Riverlands (Robb’s Camp): Robb and his advisors meet with Black Walder and Lothar Frey to discuss an alliance for his planned attack on Casterly Rock. Lord Walder Frey demands an alliance and formal apology from Robb, Harrenhal and all of its lands and incomes, and for Edmure Tully to marry Roslin, one of his daughters. Edmure declares that no law can compel him to marry someone he hasn't chosen. The Blackfish: "The Law of My Fist is about to compel your teeth!"

Lady Olenna [To Tywin, about Ser Loras]: "A sword swallower, through and through."

Introduced in this episode
* Yunkai, [Not shown but added to the credits.] known also as the Yellow City, is one of the three great Ghiscari city-states of Slaver's Bay, located south-west of Meereen and north of Astapor. Bedslaves, trained in the "Way of the Seven Sighs", are Yunkai's chief export. Yunkai is ruled by an oligarchy of slave merchants calling themselves the Wise Masters. Its people are known both as Yunkish and Yunkai'i.

Notes (cribbed from here and here)
* In the books, Bolton's men find an ill-fitting dress for Brienne, and mockingly present it to her as it was the only dress remotely large enough to fit her. Brienne looks absurd in it. The front fits so loosely that Brienne has to be careful that it doesn't fall down and expose her breasts. For the TV series, however, costume designer Michele Clapton explained in the in-episode guide that she decided that it would be more interesting if Brienne's discomfort in the scene was psychological: due to her rejection of the stereotyped gender-roles in the society of the Seven Kingdoms, Brienne would actually be more uncomfortable if the dress fit her well, as this would be forcing her to conform to established norms of "feminine" clothing and beauty. As Clapton said: "I wanted Brienne to put on a dress and look rather good in it, but be horrified about having to wear it...It's meant to reveal a bit of cleavage in the shoulders, which for Brienne, is mortifying. The last thing she wants is to be portrayed as a woman, and in a way, to look good as a woman makes it worse. So we decided rather go for a dress that looked good, but it was her sense of horror that made it comfortable."
* Gilly's baby, appearing in the fourth episode and in "The Climb"'s first scene, was played by ten months-old Arya Hasson – named after Arya Stark – from the Waterside in Derry.

"This episode is full of people who want to believe, and will take extraordinary risks to pursue their dreams. “It’s a long way up and a long way down. But I’ve waited my whole life to see the world from up there,” Ygritte tells Jon as they begin what appears to be a suicide mission of climbing the Wall. “You didn’t stop being a Crow the day you walked into Mance Rayder’s tent. But I’m your woman right now. You’re going to be loyal to your woman. The Night’s Watch don’t care if you live or die. Mance Rayder don’t care if I live or die. we’re just soldiers in their armies and there’s plenty more to carry on if we go down. With you and me. It matters to me and you. Don’t ever betray me.” Samwell Tarly, whose father was a monster to him, can still sit in the forest with Gilly and her child and sing to them “The father’s face is still and strong / He sits and judges right and wrong.” Edmure Tully sticks by his belief in true love, or at least true lust. “At least I should be able to have the same choice you had,” he tells Robb. “The laws of Gods and Men are very clear. No man can compel another man to marry.” And Robb believes that he can be fair to his uncle in some way. “You’re paying for my sins,” he says. “It’s not fair or right. I’ll remember it.” Sansa is blindly excited by the prospect of her upcoming wedding to Loras, and Loras, though he isn’t sexually attracted to her, seems to be trying to convince himself that everything will be all right. “I’ve dreamed of a large wedding since I was quite young,” he tells Sansa. “The guests, the food, the tournaments. And the bride of course. The most beautiful bride in the world, in a gown of gold and green with fringed sleeves.”

But those dreams start to come apart almost as soon as they’re articulated.
Melisandre [To Arya]: "I see a darkness in you. And in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever."
posted by zarq (5 comments total)
This is a First Watch with Books thread.

Please do not reveal spoilers for subsequent episodes from any source.

Thank you.
posted by zarq at 11:31 PM on July 24, 2015

I wonder what people thought of Littlefinger's speech? I liked it at the time, though I have a pronounced soft spot for Aiden Gillen and especially for the scenes with him and Varys. I've heard others complain it was over the top, and I can understand that criticism.

I feel like it's one of those scene that GoT has a lot of, that seem banged into corners where they don't quite fit on first viewing, but then when you take a step back and see them in a larger context their stature seems more proportionate, the themes resonant and not heavy-handed.

A lot of the time on this show the you get no sense of the full weight a scene is meant to be carrying until weeks or whole seasons later. I'm not sure if this a fixable problem, given their can be done, to have characters toss off asides or little bits of background action that turn out to be hugely important later --- J.K Rowling is actually quite good at this, I think --- but I don't know how well it can be done in the context of a show with scores of characters, if you in fact want at least most of your audience to have a little bell go off in their head later and think back on X when Y happens.
posted by Diablevert at 1:00 PM on July 31, 2015

I thought Littlefinger's speech was over the top; but I have a dislike for the choices the show has made with Littlefinger in general, so that might be where it comes from.
posted by nubs at 10:34 AM on August 6, 2015

On Ros and The Climb
posted by homunculus at 10:21 AM on September 29, 2015

The verbal jousting between Tywin Lannister and Lady Olenna was the highlight of this episode.

Also Gwendolyn Christie and her agent are good negotiators.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:58 PM on September 23, 2018

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